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Our View: Anastasiades and Akinci right to leave party leaders behind

IN THE end the two leaders made the right call in deciding not to take party leaders with them to Mont Pelerin where the talks would focus on territory. Each would be accompanied by his team of advisors, the only people they would need at the Switzerland talks.

Mustafa Akinci, some time ago, said he would take the Turkish Cypriot party leaders with him, if the talks moved abroad, but he probably did not have the territory talks in mind when he had suggested this. We suspect he was referring to the five-party or multi-party conference, the last phase of the procedure that is expected to finalise an agreement.

President Anastasiades felt obliged to discuss the possibility of also taking the party leaders with him, after it was announced that the talks would move abroad, but most of them, predictably, responded negatively to the idea. They criticised the plan of moving the talks abroad, implying there was some sinister, hidden agenda, and saw no point in going.

But after Anastasiades told them at Sunday’s national council meeting that he did not think their presence was necessary, two of the leaders disagreed, arguing that they should have gone. In fairness, the rest of the party leaders respected the president’s wish, although they warned that that he should be careful of being trapped. Others said that he should not agree to discuss anything other than territory and property, while the Diko chief urged him to demand the Turkish side submitted a map with proposed territorial adjustments.

There will be no such distractions for the two leaders once they are in Switzerland, thanks to the decision to leave party leaders behind. They will focus exclusively on the talks, not having to hold meetings to brief leaders about what was being discussed and justify decisions to them. And there will be no danger of selective leaks to the media by leaders wanting to stir public opposition.

We suspect representatives of the Turkish government will also be present in Mont Pelerin, because Akinci will not have licence to negotiate territorial adjustments. It could be the reason why the issue of territory is being discussed abroad, as it would have been difficult for Turkish government officials to be directly involved in talks at UN headquarters at Nicosia international airport.

And it could have been Ankara that vetoed the presence of the Turkish Cypriot party leaders, which allows Anastasiades to go on his own as well, thus not having to worry appeasing leaders that want the talks to fail.



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